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I decided a bit last minute to join the coming week's Booktubeathon. I'm aiming to read 7 books in 7 days. Which is why I picked very short books. *winks*

May Wrap Up

Jun. 5th, 2017 08:08 am
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I had a really good reading month, even if the video is a bit later than I wanted.

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This particular readathon did not quite go as I hoped.

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This week I am going to attempt Bout of Books for the first time. And this is my sign up post which is bordering on being late. My TBR is in the video below. Not sure how much I will get done between work and the studying I really need to get to, but I'm gonna try.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team



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This is the first video I've filmed using my new lighting attachment for my phone. Hmmm...

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I have an essay due on Sunday. *sighs* Why did I think this uni thing was a good idea again? Oh right, intellectual stimulation and study what I like. Unfortunately most of this year will be the couple of required subjects I have to do which is why I currently have a 10% written essay on the assumptions underpinning the arguments regarding emergency contraception.

Yeah, I totally picked the topic so I could give the negative arguments a feminist slanted shredding.

I have officially gone further in my running program than I managed on my first attempt in January/February. Go me! Not sure how long I will last this time, but as long as each attempt improves I guess I'm doing well.

I've pretty much decided to my first Bout of Books readathon next week, though I haven't actually signed up yet. That will be one of my procrastination tasks this weekend. ;) I've already filmed a combined April Wrap Up & Haul this evening which will be set to upload over night.

In the meantime I am spending my evening having random dance parties and probably reading a bit. And possibly watching some new-to-me Time Team because one of the packages I picked up this morning was a new DVD.

My reading this weekend will probably be focused on the Starlit Wood anthology, my Emma re-read and Ms Marvel because volume 6 is due back at the library on Tuesday along with the Saga volumes I've already read.

And you know, anything extra I need for my essay *shifty eyes*


May. 1st, 2017 10:54 am
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So I participated in the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon again this past weekend and had a great time. I read about 1,272 pages overall. I also filmed a vlog throughout the 24 hours.

I hoping I might finish The Left Hand of Darkness today at least. I don't have far to go and I have the day off work as a recovery (and also laundry) day.
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I'm doing my third Dewey's 24 Hour Readthon this weekend. It starts for me at 10 pm on Saturday, so I intend to read for a couple of hours, sleep, then watch Doctor Who as soon as it is available on iView in the morning so Twitter doesn't spoil me. Then my entire Sunday until 10 pm will be spent reading. I do need to try and run if the weather allows it, but that is what audio books are for. ;)

The lead up tomorrow will hopefully be spent studying, tidying up enough that I can safely vlog in all my usual reading spots and making sure I have everything I need, appropriate snacks and drinks included. I have Monday off work because I'll need to recover, do any chores that were ignored and probably work on my essay (due Sunday week).

I have filmed my TBR. I won't read everything, but I find that a readathon requires options and different formats so that my concentration doesn't start to fail.

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It's that time of year again - a statistical round up of my reading for the past year. I had a really good year in 2016, encouraged by that fact that around the middle of the year I started posting regular booktube videos on youtube. My channel's name is MaiarBellydance, just in case. *winks* I'm just starting to teach myself some basic editing, so hopefully my videos will improve a bit.


I completed 87 items of reading in 2016 (my target was 70), and DNF-ed 1. As much as Jodie Taylor's Just One Damned Thing After Another sounded up my alley, I just could not get into it and therefore returned it to the library.

Of that 87, the author/editor gender breakdown (to my knowledge) is as follows:
Male: 38
Female: 40
Multiple Genders: 9

Fairly even, leaning towards the feminine. I read more male authored books at the start of the year, as the English class I was taking had weekly texts mostly written by men and The Force Awakens sent me on a Star Wars re-reading binge in January.

I've added or subtracted categories as needed for the rest of the statistics, but they ar emostly the same as last year.

Magazines: 6
Comics: 6
Anthologies: 3
Single Author Collection: 1
Poetry: 1
Individual Short Stories/Novellas: 6
Audiobooks: 11
Non Fiction: 2
Fiction: 79
Both NF/F: 6 (basically, the issues of Uncanny Magazine)
Re-Reads: 35
Previously Unread: 52

I believe I re-read more this year than last year, but it is still significantly skewed towards new works. I've also picked up audio books, which cover a significant amount of my re-reading, as I think they work best for me as re-reads.

Finally, after perusing my very white 2015 reading list, I challenged myself at the start of the year to read more non-white authors. I did not set myself a specific target, because anything is better than 0. In total I completed 4 books by non-white authors, 3 of which were a trilogy by an Indigenous Australian author. I'm a little disappointed at the low number, but it's an improvement. I also acknowledge that there are 2 books by non-white authors on my currently reading pile and a number of short stories, particularly in Uncanny Magazine that don't count individually. I also certainly bought a few more that I have not yet read. Still it's a starting point.

So - looking forward to 2017. I've set my Goodreads target to 95. I hit my 2016 target in October so I need to challenge myself a bit more this time. I would like to increase the number of non-white authors from 2016. The other area where I lack is LGBTQ+. It's a bit harder to calculate via author - I'm not really comfortable digging too deeply into personal lives. So I might aim for books with LGBTQ+ protagonists.

I also need to read my own damn books. My TBR is far too large and outgrowing the space I've put aside for it. I'm not going to give myself a specific target for the TBR. However, I am going to try and limit myself each month to buying no more books than I actually read in that month. Given that I plan to buy books tomorrow - I should get a wriggle on. I'm also registering this particular goal as part of #readmyowndamnbooks hosted by Estella over at

I'm starting off this week by trying to make as much progress as possible on my 'Currently Reading' shelf on Goodreads, which, as of this moment, has 13 books of various types and forms on it *gulps*. I have the first week of the year off work, so I should at least manage to finish a few. I am also aiming to get caught up on Uncanny Magazine, as I've been 3 or 4 issues behind for a good 12 months now. The only other not currently in progress stuff I might allow myself this week is some Jane Austen re-reading. I've been feeling the need for it recently, and it will make a good break if I get stuck.
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The follow up to Saturday's video. This is how I went.

I'm definitely doing this again in October. It was exhausting, even with sleep, but so much fun. I am now 10 books ahead of schedule in my goodreads challenge & have read more women and another writer of colour (Nnedi Okorafor). Yayness!
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So I've been experimenting with filming on my iPad using the youtube app this weekend. Booktube is inspiring, though frankly, it probably won't last with me. I'll get distracted. But, I've just posted my to read pile for the Dewey 24 hOur Read-a-thon, which starts in just under 5 hours. SO I thought I would post it here too.

The Books

Binti - Nnedi Okoarafor
Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire
Without a Summer - Mary Robinette Kowal
Four Doctors - Paul Cornell
Asterix - Goscinny & Uderzo
Trickster's Choice - Tamora Pierce
The Red Queen - Isobelle Carmody
Gemma Alone - Noel Streatfeild
The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood
And Furthermore - Judi Dench
One Small Step - ed. Tehani Wessely

I won't get them all read, obviously, but I wanted options to switch between if I got stuck. And frankly, should the mood take me, I'll grab anything off the shelf.
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I got inspired by a blog post by Erika from the Verity! podcast... so here are my memories of libraries.

Libraries were part of my life growing up, but perhaps not as much as some people. Mostly, I think, because there were always a lot of books in the house, between the large collection of picture books (it's still epic and now Mum has grandchildren to read them to), Dad's library of theology, science fiction & fantasy and Mum's classics and mysteries. I read and re-read Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, LM Montgomery, Tolkien and CS Lewis. Between my brothers and I as teens we ended up with a large collection of Star Wars novels and I always had stacks of Tamora Pierce and Baby-Sitters Club. We were also big re-readers, so we were often quite happy with what we had. But there are things I definitely remember about libraries (and there were a lot, as we moved regularly).

In primary school in Heywood, I remember regularly visiting the rows of BSC and Sweet Valley books in the public library. My friends and I were big BSC readers. But I also remember my brothers and I wearing out the library copies of The Muddle Headed Wombat & The Animals of Farthing Wood on cassette tape. Snugglepot & Cuddlepie as well, I think. We could listen happily for hours. I can also remember borrowing a Kylie Minogue cassette in one of my early forays into pop music.

We were in Oatlands, a very small country ton for my tweens and early teens. I remember the local library had a copy of the abridged novelisation from The Return of the Jedi illustrated with stills from the film. My brothers and I would borrow that and the Asterix & TinTin comics constantly. My most distinct memory of the school library was a book called Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. I read it multiple times... goodness, I've not thought of that book in a while. I wonder if it's on Kindle?

Most of my other library memories are related to Glenorchy City Library through my late teens and early twenties. I didn't visit often, but it had much of the books I already liked as well as a great deal more. In particular was Monica Seles' early autobiography, which I have never found anywhere else.. and I'm always looking.

I am a member of the local library here in Canberra, but my TBR shelf is so huge and my reading time so variable that I rarely use it, though it was a great comfort when I first moved up, having had to leave many books that technically belonged to my mother behind. I did get hold of the Tiptree bio there last year though. So it's always handy to know where the libary card is!
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As usual, my blogging has been non existent - well, it is me. The fact that I'm finally making a post at night after being drugged in bed with a dizzy migraine all day is just how I roll. Mostly, it's because I randomly ran across an awesome book vlogger on youtube today and I'm feeling inspred. Let's face it, it probably won't last. What gives me hope is that I've no been using to do lists to organise my life on an almost daily basis for over a month now and it's been working. Mostly. Migraines and 'meh' days still happen. I've already starting semi-scheduling minimum reading and TV time, so perhaps it will work for blogging too. Perhaps if I put it on the weekend list?

So, lets start with what I've been reading in the last month-ish.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
I read this back in late February. It's been on my to-read shelf since I saw Ambelin speak as the Guest of Honour at Continuum in Melbourne in 2014, but I hadn't got around to it (the story of my life). I finally picked it up as part of my determination to read more authors of colour. Ambelin is an Indigenous Australian author from Western Australia and this is the first novel in her YA series The Tribe. It's post the environmental apocalypse and shares the stories of a group of young people with illegal powers living in a forest on the outskirts of society. It literally covers the interrogation of the leader of these children, Ashala Wolf, over a few days. But more is going on than you think. It's about memory and friendship, power and dreams, and doing what's right. I really enjoyed it.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
I read this in the lead up to attending Contact 2016 which was held in Brisbane over Easter, with Ben as a GOH. Again, this was a book that had been sitting on my kindle for a couple of years, so I took the opportunity to read it. It's a London police procedural with magic and gods. It's the firstiin the Peter Grant series and is very enjoyable. I particularly liked the characterisation of the Thames and it's subsiduries. Enjoyable, will probably read more eventually, but not as gripping and mind bending as my other experience in a similar sub genre, Paul Cornell's Shadow Police series.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 6
I'm a wee bit behind in my Uncanny Reading (I supported both Kickstarter campaigns) but have picked it up again as my bus ride reading. This issue had a fun middle grade Scifi story, "Find A Way Home" by Paul Cornell and the bizzarity of the glitter frogs in "And Never Mind the Watching Ones" by Keffy R.M. Kehrli. As always there was some excellent essays and I think I'm starting to connect to the poetry more (I blame my current uni studies - "Biting Tongues" by Amal El-Mohtar rang clanging bells).

I also ended up re-reading all three volumes of A Tapestry of Lives by Jean Sims, one of my favourite Pride & Prejudice variation and extensions. I am currently over 600 page sinto the final book of The Obernewtyn Chronicles, The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody, which is awesome, but requires large chunks of time (it's 1108 pages!).

TV wise, I've not watch much of note, though in the last week or so I've been catching up on a lot of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery (a half hour interview show where she takes guests to their childhood homes & schools). I also finally watched episode 1.04 of Daredevil on Sunday and OMG the violence was so graphic I had to turn away and block my ears. I will persist with season 1, as it's Marvel, but I don't know whether I'll go further.

Now, I should stop here and try & sleep, so as to avoid missing another day of work.
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My Goodreads challenge for 2015 was to read 70 'books'. I made it, but only by putting in a concerted effort in the last week of the year (I read about 8 books and comics in a 5 day period). I started the year very slowly and spent most of the year trying to play catch up.

As usual, I've done a gender breakdown based on writers or editors.

Written/Edited by women: 41
Written/Edited by men: 24
Edited by multiple genders: 5

A few more men this year, but still overwhelmingly female. Now for the other stats.

4 Magazines
24 Comics (a combination of trades and single volumes)
1 Audio Dramatisation of a Novel (it was on goodreads, it totally counts)
3 Anthologies (fiction)
1 Individual Author Collection
6 works of Non Fiction (2 were collections)
60 works of Fiction
4 work of both Fiction & Non Fiction
4 Re-reads
66 Previously Unread

This year I have left out the category of short fiction, although there are a couple of works which are considered so, but given I almost entirely avoided the Hugo Short Fiction categories this year, I didn't think it was worth a stat. They're included in the fiction count.

So, a lot more comics in 2015 and a lot less re-reading..

Since I barely made it in 2015, I've kept my target the same at 70 for 2016, though I've already had a much better start. The true challenge this year will be to try and read some work by writers of colour. I have the gender thing down pat, but I'm pretty sure the only work from people of colour I've read is as part of Uncanny Magazine. Ms Marvel is a character of colour written by a Muslim woman, but I'm not sure if G. Willow Wilson identifies as a person of colour. I don't want to assume. I have at least 1 book by an Indigenous Australian buried in my to read shelf, so I had best start there.

I'll report back in 12 months. ;)
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So, in 2014 I challenged myself to read 65 books in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I didn't limit myself this time around, so it included re-reads, comics, short stories that I read outside anthologies for awards reading and even one magazine. I ended up reading 69 in total.

The thing I look at most, an author gender breakdown, is more unbalanced this year, but it's unbalanced in favour of female authors. Not surprising, considering I re-read some favourites, most of which are written by women. When it comes to edited works, if all listed editors are the same gender, they go into that category. If multiple genders are represented, they get their own category. The figures go like this:

Written/Edited by women: 54
Written/Edited by men: 9
Edited by multiple genders: 6

Very female heavy, no? Even when not re-reading old favourites, I think I instinctively tend to choose female authors, because it's what I've always read.

Now for some other stats breakdowns.

1 Magazine
7 Comics (a combination of trades and single volumes)
4 Anthologies (though 1 contained only 2 stories - To Spin A Darker Stair)
2 Individual Author Collections
9 pieces of short fiction of various lengths read for awards
4 works of Non Fiction
64 works of Fiction
1 work of both Fiction & Non Fiction
31 Re-reads
38 Previously Unread

For 2015, I am challenging myself to reading 70 'books'. I almost got there in 2014, after all.
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I'm not entirely sure where this post is going, but I have deep thoughts swirling in my head, so maybe this will help me clarify some of them.

I've been listening to a whole lot of Galactic Suburbia recently, as I work my way through their back catalogue of podcasts. I'm not sure if I have mentioned them in previous posts, but in case I haven't, they are an Australian podcast that discusses speculative fiction and publishing news, as well as some more general chat. And it's pretty much all from a feminist perspective, even when they are not outright trying to be.

Anyway, not only do I now have an ever growing list of books and short stories to read, I'm hearing a lot of opinions about fandom and feminism in particular. In an episode I listened to today (from April last year) there was a comment made about a blogpost by a woman named Kirstyn McDermott ( about being a 'bad' feminist online. Just the off the cuff comment that I heard, even before reading the article, made me wonder.

What kind of a feminist am I? Am I even really a feminist?

It's not something I talk about a lot. I'm not particularly analytically minded, something of which I am well aware (and secretly kind of embrace at times - the indirect boast of Charles Bingley in Pride & Prejudice). But do I consider myself a feminist?

In a way, I think the label 'feminist' is too narrow. I believe in equal rights and treatment for women, most definitely. But I also believe in equal rights and treatment for ALL PEOPLE. Regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion... everybody deserves to be treated with respect and with equality under the law.

Then I started thinking about my favourite books and authors. After all, this train of thought started while listening to a podcast dedicated to discussing fiction. I noticed something. Almost all of my favourite books are about women. They generally have strong female protaganists, who have agency or strength of some sort.

My favourite book of all time is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. While it is certainly a book of it's time, it is about a woman who makes her own choices. Yes, she makes mistakes. She completely misjudges both Darcy and Wickham to start with. But she has decided opinions. Despite the precarious situation of her family, she rejects not one, but TWO proposals of marraige because she believes in marrying for love, and not to 'secure her own comfort' as Charlotte Lucas does. Many of my other favourite Jane Austen novels are the same. The women in them make their own choices. Fanny Price holds fast to her beliefs and refuses Crawford's proposals despite the pressue of her relatives, because she does not trust him. Elinor Dashwood holds her head up and is herself, despite her hopes being dashed. Marianne is fooloish, yes, but she is following her heart and making her own choices. Anne Elliot, submits to someone else's advice, but comes to realise her mistake and then follows her heart when the opportunity arrives.

If we go into the world of fantasy, my favourite author is Tamora Pierce, who made her career on characters who are both female and strong. In science fiction, going back to my teens, one of my favourite characters is Mara Jade - a woman who was stubbornly independent, who threw off the commands of her dead master once she realised that he lied to her and forged her way as the second in command to the smuggler Talon Karrde, as well as later becoming a trader in her own right. Yes, she married Luke, but for her own reasons, because she wanted to.

The other books that spring to mind as much loved favourites are the Anne of Green Gables series and Little Women. Both Anne and Jo are writers, forging their own way and using their intelligence while still being feminine. In fact, that is the basis of Jo's struggle. She's not Meg, a housewife, she's not Amy, a grand lady in waiting, though those are perfectly valid people to be. She's Jo and she wants independence. She refuses Laurie, because while it is a grand match by society's standards and he is her best friend, she knows that they would make an awful couple. She stands by her decision, even though Laurie runs from her and it breaks her heart to hurt him.

So I guess my conclusion is that my reading habits suggest that I am at least subconciously a feminist, but I am so much more than that, even if I am not always vocal about my opinions.



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